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American Dirt


"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow
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Discuss American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins:
Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 15

Posted Feb. 06, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

Sebastián persists in running his story on Javier even though he knows it will put him and his family in grave danger. Do you admire what he did? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bestmartin's Gravatar
bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

Posts: 92

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I admire him for being so brave to publish his story but I think he was naive about the consequences. Given how vicious the drug lords are, I think he should have given his story to someone else to publish. I would not have personally published it. It was too easy to find him.


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
garyr

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 30

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I believe he did what he had to do, tell the truth, what a good journalist does.


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 265

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I do, particularly because I think he was aware of the potential consequences. His generally security-oriented behaviors tell he he knew he was putting himself, and possibly his family in danger. I don't admire that particularly, but I do admire his willingness to stand up for the truth, and for his attempt to balance his reporting. Had Javier's daughter not reacted to the story as she did, the auhor posits there would have been no attempt at revenge.


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susanr

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 126

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I admire his bravery for publishing the article and doing what he thought was right. He was aware of possible consequences but when he suggested going to a hotel for a few days, his wife said no because she didn't think that they were in danger.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 180

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I would not have run the story. Sebastian knew the danger he was bringing to his family and he also had to know that the influence of the gang cartels was such that his writing about it to make people more aware would not change the power and force of the cartels but would certainly put a target on him and his family.


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

He was a good journalist and also a bad husband and father. He and his wife were both stupidly naive about what might happen if the article was published. According to statistics, Mexico is the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists. That means there are more journalists murdered there than almost anywhere else in the world.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marks

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 30

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

To not run the story would have amounted to pretending not to know the truth. One could even argue that it would be tantamount to condoning the behavior. As other people pointed out in this thread, he did his job as a journalist. That does not make him a bad husband and father. This might be a stretch, but I think of this as somewhat similar to the whole Houston Astros scandal. Many players and coaches are taking heat because they knew about the sign stealing and chose not to do what they could to stop it. In essence, their inaction condoned the behavior as well. As a parent, that is not what I would want to pass on to my children.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

During a Press Conference with the president of Mexico in August 2019, a reporter responded to a comment made by López Obrador, "The role of the press is not to behave well with any one president, but to inform." Let's substitute the word president with criminal/cartel boss. I am in awe of the men and women who, armed only with pens, notebooks, and cameras, are willing to take on the cartels and criminals of the country when the police and government will not.

I do admire Sebastian for running his story. He is willing to tell the truth in spite of the risk. I think his decision to not give in to pressure makes him a better father. He writes in an attempt to change the country he loves into something better for his own child.

I would have run the story.

There is actually a Journalist Protection Program in Mexico, created in 2012. Two of the last four journalists killed in Mexico had asked for its help. Ninety-nine per cent of all homicides committed against journalists in Mexico go unpunished.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Andrea

Join Date: 08/31/18

Posts: 22

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I did not admire Sebastián for running his story because his reasons for doing do were too questionable. Was his motivation professional self-interest, personal self-interest, or truly for the good of society? I tend to doubt the latter because I believe that his nervousness revealed his awareness of not having the prerequisite support to truly affect change. The fact that he left the final decision up to Lydia also leaves doubts in my mind.

I suppose, therefore, that I would lean towards questioning his worthiness as a husband and father. It felt like he wanted to make Lydia pay for having a close relationship with Javier.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 220

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

Found it interesting that he ran it before Lydia for her opinion and published when she assured him that Javier would like it because it was a fair and balanced picture of the man. WHAT? And then, based on her opinion that the article was flattering enough, they opted to have a BBQ like nothing would happen. Later the author implies that nothing would have happened if this innocuous expose had not caused Marta to commit suicide. Guess she couldn't see the balance --really??


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 221

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I think that Sebastian may have made a different decision if he had known about Lydia and Javier's connection. She told him about it after she found out about who Javier was, but I don't think Sebastian understood the connection and bond between them. He might have been more careful about deflecting who wrote the article. Publishing the poem made Javier think Lydia betrayed his trust when she hadn't. I guess he should have weighed the consequences better, but it's difficult to predict what a mad man will do.


Posted Feb. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jamiek

Join Date: 11/21/17

Posts: 24

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

How could he and Lydia not know the consequences of publishing his story? There is no other way Javier could have reacted than quick and devastating revenge. After all, what does fair and balanced mean to the head of a cartel?
So: good journalist— not so good husband and father. It's not possible in that world to be both. I would have chosen family over naivety and certain death and not have run the article.


Posted Feb. 20, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
TLVZ721

Join Date: 03/26/18

Posts: 16

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I don't think he was a good or bad journalist, nor was he a good or bad husband/father. Everyone isn't ALL good or bad (at least , I would like to think so). Though I wish there would have been a way for him to continue his journalism, exposing the cartels for what they are, but remain anonymous in his publications. But, I guess if that were an option, we wouldn't have had a story to read!


Posted Feb. 22, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
windellh

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 36

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

You have to weigh the odds. Being passionate is one thing, placing your family in jeopardy is another matter.


Posted Mar. 25, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 169

RE: Do you admire Sebastian for running his story? Was he a good journalist or a bad husband and father? What would you have done if you were him?

I believe that Sebastian was a good journalist. A true journalist prints the truth. They may not agree with it, but that is their job. You cannot bend the truth or remake the truth, you can only state it as openly as you can. He reported with the best of his ability. This did not make him a bad husband, but it did make him a good journalist. And his reporting was not liked by a criminal element -the Cartel - for which he paid dearly, as did his family.


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